WASHINGTON (June 12, 2003) -— Today the President's Council on Bioethics heard testimony on the values and principles that ought to govern policy on human embryo research. Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the expert witnesses for the meeting.
"Medical research can and should always be guided by fundamental ethical norms," he said.
Doerflinger reviewed the limits to human subject experimentation embraced by Western civilization over the last century, noting a rejection of utilitarian approaches in favor of consideration for the well-being of the human subject. He also addressed the substantial agreement among ethical advisory boards in the last quarter century that the human embryo deserves "respect" as a form of human life.
"By rejecting research avenues that rely on the destruction of developing human life," Doerflinger said, "our society will be able to devote itself all the more enthusiastically to ethically responsible medical research and the dissemination of its benefits to all human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable."
"Research avenues posing no moral problem are rapidly advancing to treat previously incurable diseases, offering us opportunities to work together on forms of medical progress that all can support and that all patients can benefit from with a clear conscience," he said.
To view his full testimony, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/index.htm.